• TimeLine
    2.7k
    Your quote there, seems at odds with what you said earlier: [Love is] "the only thing worth living for". Well, if real love, and relationships are so paramount, indeed so much so that it is "the only thing worth living for", then for MANY people not to experience this (I am talking specifically romantic love), would seem to be a tragedy.schopenhauer1

    The problem is you see love to be romantic love as though when I said love is the only thing worth living for that it is somehow meant for one person and so if you never find that one person than it is tragic. Love - like authenticity - is a state of mind, something that we give and if we only love one person and yet remain indifferent to all others, that is nothing but an enlarged ego or narcissism. You love only because you are loved.

    These delusions that people conform to are rooted in this vulnerability, this lack of self-esteem and so when I said that love is the only thing worth living for, I meant reaching a genuine understanding of the world around them because "love" is moral consciousness. It is why some people can be physically alone but never feel lonely, whereas others are in relationships and have many people around them and yet feel anxious and lonely. It is that subjective, inner life that I speak of and working towards attaining this harmony with ourselves - love - is the only thing worth living for, because without it our understanding of the world around us is artificial at best.

    It is not to say that authenticity in romance is impossible, the love between two people who have reached that subjective harmony and have overcome that narcissism and lack of self-esteem to see with their own eyes and not with socially constructed ideals. If they can "see" then they can see each other. The tragedy only exists in those that never attain that self-awareness.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    760
    Goethe was almost biblical and this dichotomy between the harlot and the holy illustrates the subjective conflict between instinctual desires or the "bad" and moral responsibility or the "good" that seems to be projected and translated in women. We tempt and inspire the same struggle and thus men create these artificial constructs that they project into an ideal woman and women play the part in order to make themselves attractive.TimeLine

    There's a certain danger in being desired or thought desirable by men, it seems.

    The "bad" women to such as Goethe would probably be those who arouse the brute needs of the male (I've always wanted to use this silly phrase and couldn't resist using it when the opportunity arose) and the "good" women would be those who inspire our loftier ideals and so lead us onward and upward. It's likely a part of the old distinction we've liked to make between the merely physical and the mental or spiritual, the latter always being superior to the former, but the former always being paramount regardless of what we say, especially when it comes to sex where we (men I mean) are so motivated by what is visual.

    I believe men do deserve sympathy because a deeper vulnerability pressures them to silence articulating their own identity. The pressure of masculinity.TimeLine

    The incendiary and divisive Camille Paglia claims that we men must define our identifies against our mothers or we'll be swallowed up by them. An image at once disturbing and suggestive. She can be such fun, sometimes.

    But don't be too kind to us. Pity may be more appropriate than sympathy when it comes to these things. And caution. The pressure you speak of is largely self-imposed.

    I appreciate your responses. I think better of the story and the author because of them, and may even understand them somewhat.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    The problem is you see love to be romantic love as though when I said love is the only thing worth living for that it is somehow meant for one person and so if you never find that one person than it is tragic. Love - like authenticity - is a state of mind, something that we give and if we only love one person and yet remain indifferent to all others, that is nothing but an enlarged ego or narcissism. You love only because you are loved.TimeLine

    This is very much perennial thinking there that most people can get on board with.

    These delusions that people conform to are rooted in this vulnerability, this lack of self-esteem and so when I said that love is the only thing worth living for, I meant reaching a genuine understanding of the world around them because "love" is moral consciousness.TimeLine

    Okay, but here you are really stretching the word "love" to such a wide scope, you should probably use another word (even agape vs. eros would be fine). However, you knew, based on the confines of this thread which was started from a short story on dating/relationships/romantic love, that the definition I am using is about romantic love- that is to say that involving having an emotional and physical bond with one (or more?) particular person(s).

    It is why some people can be physically alone but never feel lonely, whereas others are in relationships and have many people around them and yet feel anxious and lonely. It is that subjective, inner life that I speak of and working towards attaining this harmony with ourselves - love - is the only thing worth living for, because without it our understanding of the world around us is artificial at best.TimeLine

    Again, I think you are broadening the world "love" to such a degree that it no longer fits into the topic. It's like making a category error. You are applying a concept of "being at harmony with oneself and the universe" as equivalent to romantic love, and I think this creates a false sense that what you are saying is really addressing the scope of this argument.

    It is not to say that authenticity in romance is impossible, the love between two people who have reached that subjective harmony and have overcome that narcissism and lack of self-esteem to see with their own eyes and not with socially constructed ideals. If they can "see" then they can see each other. The tragedy only exists in those that never attain that self-awareness.TimeLine

    I really think you are putting so much emphasis on people's self-actualized sense of themselves, it overshoots the issue at hand. Humans are social creatures. We have thrived on committing to intimate/romantic relationships since the beginning of the species, in all societies (whether polygamist or monogamist, tribal or post-industrial, etc.). This social reality is simply not experienced by many people, and the phenomena itself leads to frustration.

    So, even if someone is fully self-actualized (a modern concept I find lacking but that's another thread), a big part of being human (intimate relationships) either a) leads to more frustration or b) is not even experienced, thus making a life worse off or not as good as it could have been compared to the rare others who may have this experience of a meaningful relationship.
  • TimeLine
    2.7k
    I appreciate your responses. I think better of the story and the author because of them, and may even understand them somewhat.Ciceronianus the White

    Thanks, and likewise.

    But don't be too kind to us. Pity may be more appropriate than sympathy when it comes to these things. And caution. The pressure you speak of is largely self-imposed.Ciceronianus the White

    I do not see it as self-imposed. It is a given identity that narrates predictable male traits and guarantees this disembodiment or unsettling disconnection from the self in an attempt to find some solidarity with his environment, and society configures and regulates these archetypes through socially coercive Othering making men feel impotent should they fail to adhere to these patterns of masculinity.

    This dyad exposes the vulnerability or lack of esteem in men and to call it a "weakness" or to say it is "self-imposed" is another mechanism that reinforces something "masculine" and does not productively explore the phenomenon leading men to conform.

    I would not call it self-imposed, but rather a limitation of power. "Masculinity" as a socially constructed concept is a product of this relational ontology, where the solution for this lack of power is deviously the very thing that causes it in the first place, thus conforming enables an acceptance that leads to feelings of (inauthentic) empowerment when society is the reason why they felt dis-empowered in the first place.

    Covering a bullet wound with a band-aid. The solution to this is escaping; if one is addicted to drugs, they need to go through the withdrawal. We need to get away from the toxic environment to improve, even if it means leaving loved ones. Education is another; self-education would suffice but learning and reading improves the psychological barriers in our search for authentic empowerment, but with so many barriers to this - while we have the cognitive tools to achieve this - makes me further sympathise why many men fail.
  • TimeLine
    2.7k
    Okay, but here you are really stretching the word "love" to such a wide scope, you should probably use another word (even agape vs. eros would be fine). However, you knew, based on the confines of this thread which was started from a short story on dating/relationships/romantic love, that the definition I am using is about romantic love- that is to say that involving having an emotional and physical bond with one (or more?) particular person(s).schopenhauer1

    It is delusional to believe that some symbiosis is possible between two people and despite that sexual/physical bond, the ultimate reality is that it is just sex, we are just sharing our time together and why I say that philia is the best form of love. The futility is real and we play "games" with ourselves and others by portraying socially engineered notions of "love" to pretend some validity to this symbiosis - that you are a part of me - but this type of union is nothing but an exposure of your own subjective vulnerability and loneliness. In the end, it is a stale relationship between two actors mimicking socially constructed traits because they are too afraid to admit that separation is real.

    If it is impossible to form that unity with another person, what is this feeling then? It is in you, love is something you feel, something you give. Not share. Give. If that is reciprocated, it is because your partner is giving it to you. The relationship is nothing more than two separate people that form a bond by equally expressing this love. So, when this love is authentic - that inner life contrasted by a moral consciousness - the communication between the two is genuine, because there is no underlying narcissism, no archetype or lies or socially constructed delusions. This is something within you and so when you say that I am stretching the word, you are actually trying to reduce it to definitions based on the ways in which we can express it, yet this doesn't change that it is us expressing it.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    760
    This dyad exposes the vulnerability or lack of esteem in men and to call it a "weakness" or to say it is "self-imposed" is another mechanism that reinforces something "masculine" and does not productively explore the phenomenon leading men to conformTimeLine

    I'm a cynic (in the common sense) trying to be a Stoic (in the uncommon sense). So, I have what may be a peculiar view on this issue. I think this lack of esteem is merited, as I think we're all too readily pathetic (although I think we try to use even this to our advantage; we're calculating, as I said). But, I also think that it results from a needless and harmful concern with things not in our control.

    This isn't necessarily to say we're weak. We're thoughtless, however, and in a very literal sense. We just don't think, being intent on satisfaction of a compelling need. We're selfish in so complete a manner that even Ayn Rand would find it hard to believe it virtuous.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    I'll just point out places I agree and disagree.
    It is delusional to believe that some symbiosis is possible between two people and despite that sexual/physical bond, the ultimate reality is that it is just sex, we are just sharing our time together and why I say that philia is the best form of love.TimeLine

    Actually, I agree with this "deflationary" approach. Indeed, the the major difference between romantic love vs. philia friendship or other types is its basis in either sexual attraction or sexual bonding. It is funny, this point is missed for the sake of "decency". The sexual nature is assumed in our titles for romantic partners, but rarely explicit- titles like "girlfriend", "boyfriend", "partner", "wife/husband", "fiance", etc. This isn't just a fond friend.

    The futility is real and we play "games" with ourselves and others by portraying socially engineered notions of "love" to pretend some validity to this symbiosis - that you are a part of me - but this type of union is nothing but an exposure of your own subjective vulnerability and loneliness.TimeLine

    The key word here is loneliness. At bottom, we form pair bonds with another because we are lonely creatures. What you speak of is one of the tragedies of the human animal. We are at bottom restless willing creatures (striving-but-for-nothing-in-particular..pace Schopenhauer). Loneliness is just a manifestation of this "well of restlessness".

    Humans are social animals and manifestations of restless will. If done right, there is a "tamping down effect" of some of that restlessness (it will never go away though, and just moves on to different restless needs, as it is in our natures). This is the main benefit of a romantic partner though. You are emotionally invested in someone because you care for another and they care for you. You are also sharing physical affection with someone. At best, you can focus your restless will on other things. And I agree, much of this desire for (at least one) person to care about you (physically and emotionally) is simply out of our selfish, lonely wills. It really does not have any greater motivation behind it.

    However, the difference between your view and mine, is mine doesn't discount it as unnecessary or to be abolished, but see it as a necessary phenomenon to desire this "tamping down" of the lonely/vulnerable will. Meditation, focus on a cause, work, hobbies, charity, and other (supposedly) higher end activities don't get rid of this very social animal/human/restless/lonely-motivated need for close physical and emotional affection with a close partner. The "tamping down" effect is desired from this relationship. I don't agree with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as being a good model for human motivation, however, I do agree with Maslow that finding a significant other is an important desire in the inventory of the restless/bored/lonely humans desires (for its "tamping down" effect), and makes a person "better off" if achieved with minimal frustration (which is rare).

    In the end, it is a stale relationship between two actors mimicking socially constructed traits because they are too afraid to admit that separation is real.TimeLine

    Here you hit on an interesting point. Though a life would be better off with a (non-frustrating) romantic relationship, often people's relationships are actually just ways to provide some sort of status (look I am with someone and not alone). Really that relationship is nothing more than two people that get together sometimes and pretend to do the relationship-routine. The "tamping down" effect does not really take place, because the actual care and affection are not really had. You also bring up a point about separation. No matter how authentic the relationship, the "Other" (capital O) is always there. The significant other can never really know you completely. A person's full personality/character/motivations/thoughts/ticks are always hidden, even from the closest of people. No one can be fully understood and this can cause frustration and leftover loneliness (afterall, our wills are endless, and never satiated anyways).

    If it is impossible to form that unity with another person, what is this feeling then? It is in you, love is something you feel, something you give. Not share. Give. If that is reciprocated, it is because your partner is giving it to you. The relationship is nothing more than two separate people that form a bond by equally expressing this love.TimeLine

    I agree mainly. Emotions are not in some ethereal realm of shared experience. Rather, you are having emotions, with another who might be roughly correlating the same experience in their umwelt. However, again, it is the effect of the emotion when properly achieved (and with little frustration) that is desired. That is to say, the tamping down effect, to care for and be cared for.

    Again though, the problem I addressed is the tragedy that this isn't experienced more than a small number of people for various reasons I've mentioned. Our process for attaining this desired good is not great it seems and even if there were actually demonstrated improvements on it, the prisoner's dilemma would probably make any attempt towards this solution a non-starter.
  • TimeLine
    2.7k
    Again though, the problem I addressed is the tragedy that this isn't experienced more than a small number of people for various reasons I've mentioned. Our process for attaining this desired good is not great it seems and even if there were actually demonstrated improvements on it, the prisoner's dilemma would probably make any attempt towards this solution a non-starter.schopenhauer1

    I began developing feelings for a man who was completely absorbed by these socially engineered constructions of reality that it was impossible to connect or communicate with him. That was the tragedy.

    Love is possible only if two persons communicate with each other from the centre of their existence, hence if each one of them experiences himself from the centre of his existence. Only in this 'central experience" is human reality, only here is aliveness, only here is the basis for love. Love, experienced thus is a constant challenge; it is not a resting place, but a moving, growing, working together...they are one with each other by being one with themselves.

    It was not that I wanted him to love me, in fact my affection for him was very gentle and distant, but he was completely divided within himself, between the real "him" and the false identity formed by his environment as though disembodied from that "central experience" and it was very obvious to me. He had feelings for me, but he didn't understand that it was because I was "real" and a feeling that came deep from that "central experience" and this fucked him up, he could not stop hurting me as though at war in himself because his understanding of reality, that false life that he believed was real, was static. Love is moving, growing but his life was and will remain dormant. He is not alive.

    I think I fell in love with him because of that subjective battle he was experiencing, as though I was egging him on in the hope that he would 'wake up' but it was just too hard for him and that is why I crumbled to bits. As mentioned earlier, a friend of mine broke out of that false reality by completely abandoning it. He just walked away from a life he was deluded to build despite the controversy of his departure, choosing only to remain in contact with some of his friends who are good people. That is a huge thing to do, completely start over, but he is happier because of it. His honesty is what makes him feel alive.
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